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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

CCSA to decide Songkran rules today

Maya Taylor

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CCSA to decide Songkran rules today | Thaiger
PHOTO: Lim CK on Flickr

Thailand’s Public Health Minister says the government’s Covid-19 task force will meet today to decide what this year’s Songkran celebrations will look like. While a ban on inter-provincial travel is not expected, Anutin Charnvirakul says provincial governors will impose health screening protocols on those moving between provinces.

“We are now on the last lap. Covid-19 vaccines have already arrived and everyone will get the vaccine. Next year, we will be able to have fun again. Therefore, we need to cooperate like we did last year. Last year, Thailand went 6 to 7 months without new cases of Covid-19. But when Thailand had performed well in disease control and news of vaccines emerged, a new surge of infections struck. However, the public health system is still efficient enough to bring new transmissions under control.”

Anutin says measures will be based on the colour-coding that categorises areas based on infection rates. With Bangkok and the central province of Samut Sakhon now designated orange zones, there are no longer any red provinces in the country. When asked if green provinces would be allowed to indulge in Songkran water fights, he says this is one of the decisions the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will make today.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the CCSA will also discuss a further easing of restrictions on international arrivals. The mandatory quarantine period has already been reduced from 14 days to 10, or 7, in the case of vaccinated travellers.

Anutin says the CCSA will today consider a proposal to cut quarantine even further for vaccinated arrivals. If international travellers have received 2 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, and if they test negative for the virus, the 7 day quarantine could be cut to 5 or even 3 days. Anutin adds that vaccinated arrivals may even be exempt from quarantine, but this move would require the input of medical experts.

Referring to Thailand’s own vaccination programme, the Health Minister says the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has ordered a rapid and safe national vaccine rollout.

“I can confirm there will be enough vaccines for all. Vaccines won’t be in short supply any longer. Vaccines from Sinovac have already arrived and in the next few months AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Thailand will be available at 10 million doses a month. The DDC will try to achieve the broadest possible distribution of vaccine.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Issan John

    Friday, March 19, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    “… vaccines from Sinovac have already arrived and in the next few months AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Thailand will be available at 10 million doses a month.”

    … aah 😑.

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Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines

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No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines | Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to the country’s Covid-19 hotlines. The prime minister is now ordering more staff to work for both the 1668 and 1669 Covid-19 hotlines to make sure calls don’t go unanswered. There is now an official LINE account primarily for Covid-19 patients requesting hospital beds after the hotlines were “overwhelmed” with callers, a spokesperson said.

After both of his calls to the hotlines went unanswered, Prayut says he wants to look into how the hotlines are managed.

“I tried both numbers, but nobody answered. I want to find out if this is because there are too few health personnel manning the lines, or if they are too busy tending to patients in hospitals.”

With the recent wave of infections at a record high with more than 18,000 active cases, more than doubling the last wave’s peak, hospitals have turned down Covid patients due to a shortage of beds. Recent reports say some Covid patients have been denied a ride in an ambulance. Prayut says he wants both problems to be dealt with immediately.

“I want the Public Health Ministry to urgently deal with this problem. I can’t accept the fact that entire families are getting infected because they are being denied medical help.”

A spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said at a recent press conference that there are thousands of calls made to the 2 hotline numbers and not enough people to answer.

Covid-19 patients seeking a hospital bed can send a LINE message to @sabaideebot with their name, lab results, ID number, telephone number and address.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals

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Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,470 new Covid-19 infections and 7 deaths were reported today by the CCSA. 446 new cases are in Bangkok which remains the hotzone of new infections, although the latest outbreak has now spread to most Thai provinces. Out of the 7 deaths, one was a 24 year old Thai woman with a history of visiting an entertainment venue in the southern province Surat Thani where other Covid-19 infections were reported.

The young woman’s death is a rare case as the vast majority of Covid-related deaths in Thailand are the elderly or older adults with pre-existing conditions. Health officials say the woman suffered from obesity and died 3 days after testing positive for the virus. At present, there are 18,148 patients in state care… 14,555 in hospitals and 3,593 in field hospitals.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 48,113 Covid-19 infections and 117 coronavirus-related deaths.

The other Covid-related fatalities include…

  • 68 year old Thai woman with pre-existing conditions of asthma
  • 83 year old man from Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure
  • 80 year old woman with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 45 year old woman in Bangkok with high blood pressure
  • 59 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 86 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of heart disease

Here are the provincial totals for today, as published by the NBT…

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: CCSA | Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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